Sports Editor: Shailyn Bacchiocchi
Located on the second floor of the Liberal Arts building in LARTS 221, the Writing and Multiliteracy Center (WMC) fosters a wonderful environment for students, faculty, and people alike to have a space to grow.
The Writing and Multiliteracy Center is a safe space for everyone on campus.
The center was created in 2018 after Professor Elizabeth Buck was tasked with creating a student support center that was separate from what was then known as the Writing and Reading Center (WRC).
“I was asked by university administration in 2017 to propose and direct a new student support center, separate from the WRC, that would be attentive to writing on and in new media.”
Professor Buck explains, “I launched this new center, the Multiliteracy and Communication Center, in Fall 2018. The university closed the WRC in the Fall of 2020, and in Fall of 2021, our center changed its name to its current moniker, the Writing and Multiliteracy Center.”
Professor Joshua Botvin came on board at the end of the Spring semester / Summer of 2018 and has been serving as the Assistant Director ever since.
“Elisabeth and her vision for the Center really solidified my decision to join the WMC team.” Josh mentions that “there was just so much I knew I could learn from working with her – empathy, programming, innovation – she’s such an inspirational person and incredible mentor.”
Due to the work of Professor Buck, Josh, and tutors, the WMC has blossomed into an inclusive center that has helped students of all majors feel comfortable and confident in their writing.
As with all things, misconceptions make many people hesitant to visit writing centers such as the WMC.
“The biggest misconception about visiting the writing center is, in my opinion, the idea that only ‘bad’ writers need tutoring support,” Professor Buck explains, “absolutely everyone, from first-year students to tenured faculty, can benefit from feedback.”
The misconception that writing centers are for “bad” writers is a common one not just within the student body at UMassD but in writing centers all over.
Many colleges, including the University of Richmond, struggle with this misconception about their writing centers.
Despite that, tutors continue to emphasize the benefits they see with the people they have collaborated with and stress the notion that the center is not just for one type of writer.
“It’s always nice to see what each student is working on and their unique writing styles,” Reilly, a tutor, and English and Education major, says.
Walking into the center, the welcoming environment starts right at the entrance.
At all times, there is a tutor at the front desk to greet students and help with any appointments or questions they may have involving the center.
The WMC has succeeded in creating a safe space because of the work of exceptional people involved.
“When we encounter challenges academically, professionally, or even personally, we discuss them as a community of people looking to uplift and encourage each other,” Ren, a tutor and philosophy major explains.
“I hope we’re building the WMC to be a place where you can come and be among friends and talk openly about your problems and be greeted with kindness and support,” Josh explains. “Which is made especially easy by our incredible staff.”
The tutors are varied in their ages, majors, and specialties, so finding a fit for every person that walks into the center is made incredibly easy.
Students can book an appointment online or in person, and this year the WMC launched a new asynchronous tutoring program where students can send in their work and receive feedback within a few days.
Whatever the preference is, anyone looking into receiving feedback or talking to a tutor can do it in a way that best suits their needs.
“There are certain things anyone can do to make their session most beneficial: come prepared with your ideas, a draft, an assignment sheet/rubric, etc.”
Professor Buck implores, “please don’t expect your tutor to just edit or fix your paper for you. It will always be a conversation and the more prepared you are for this conversation, the better.”
The WMC has faced its own set of struggles despite its incredible work, which Professor Buck and Josh hope to find solutions to, like the lack of funding and administrative involvement for a University center that now has significant demand.
“Like most student support centers on campus, we could use more resources. The biggest change has been a massive interest and increase in fully online tutoring support.”
Professor Buck explains that “we could use a lot more administrative help in the center to accommodate these shifts.”
“I know I’m biased, but we’re an instrumental university service, and additional funding and administrative support would allow us to further serve our students and build out new programming that we’re currently limited in providing,” Josh furthers.
Despite the challenges, the hard work of Professor Buck and Josh has not gone unnoticed.
Many tutors in the center have expressed their gratitude and thankfulness for the center, both as tutors but also just as undergraduate students trying to make it through school.
“Elisabeth and Josh are hands down the most supportive faculty at this school,” Ren explains. “They push us to do our best, support us when we’re struggling, and often seek our input to ensure that the collaborative nature of the center is preserved.”
“My experience at UMass Dartmouth has been changed for the better knowing them,” Delaney, a tutor and history/sociology major, says. “They’ve helped me become a better tutor and person in general and have helped me see and harness potential within myself.”
“Josh and Elizabeth really foster an environment for people to feel comfortable asking questions and trying to learn more.” Tam, tutor and English major, says, “they make the center run in a way that makes myself and others welcome to do so.”
Though the WMC may have some challenges to work around, the challenges go unnoticed within the student body because of the incredible services they continue to provide.
Students of all majors, years, and specialties visit the center for the outstanding collaborative environment and opportunity to further their understanding and skills.
“It (the WMC) was extremely helpful,” Brenna Orff, a senior psychology major at UMassD, explains. “I think a common misconception is that the staff will make you feel inadequate about your abilities, but that is not true. They allowed me to feel more confident in my assignments.”
Hopefully, the WMC will be provided further recognition and involvement as they continue to serve the UMassD community.
The tutoring center is open to the entire UMassD community.
To learn more about the center, see hours for in-person and online, the list of tutors, or the appointment tool, visit the WMC website here.
Any questions regarding the center can be emailed to WMC.Info@umassd.edu.